My take on PM's Brexit Speech

The Prime Minister’s speech today was spot on and provided a lot of detail. It outlined a framework for a partnership agreement which is really the only viable path forward. If this was the final agreement I believe it would work for both the EU & UK.

Here’s my take on it:

A new EU-UK court would be needed as an arbitration mechanism to ensure that reciprocal binding commitments are met by both sides. These are becoming common in trade deals as both EU-Canada and proposed EU-US (TTIP) agreements had such mechanisms.

Data protection to go beyond just an adequacy agreement and include free flow of data. EU currently is negotiating a new law on free flow of data within the EU, so likely to be a continuation of this. But also UK representation through the ICO for resolving data disputes.

Free movement ends and UK needs to control total numbers. But links between people highlighted, so likely to be some sort of preferential access for EU workers in certain sectors and more flexible rules for EU nationals than for non-EU. UK nationals likely to get better access to EU.

No tariffs or quotas on goods and mutual recognition of standards making bodies, i.e rules may be different but if objective is the same there should be mutual recognition. Many standards now global, such as UNECE for cars. This needs trust but would be game changer if agreed.

UK would seek associate membership of EU Medicines, Aviation and Chemicals Agencies. Areas where it makes sense to be in the European system.

UK will leave the Customs Union, in order to do our own trade deals. But UK will apply EU tariffs at our border. This will help with the Irish border and is a very big offer to the EU. UK would also have a mechanism to apply its own tariff for goods destined for UK market.

Goods in transit through UK to EU would face no tariffs. A big offer to Ireland who are most affected by this issue as most Irish exports to EU go through the UK. The EU should replicate that though for goods in transit to the UK market.

No hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. This will be achieved with IT solutions and automation, trusted traders schemes. Micro and SMEs are exempt and can use existing rules.

UK will leave the CAP. We have to as no non-EU country is in it. UK will uphold environmental standards and probably go further than EU. Therefore no need to introduce restrictions to trade although we will have flexibility to tailor our agri policy for global markets.

Fisheries - UK will leave the CFP and work to sustainably manage shared stocks. There will be an offer of reciprocal access to waters and UK will expect a fairer allocation of fishing opportunities. There should be open markets, i.e. no EU tariffs on UK fish exports.

Services - UK will not discriminate against EU service providers in UK and expects same approach from the EU to UK providers. Mutual recognition of qualifications. Labour mobility for professionals. Limit barriers to trade. Problem is most barriers come from national rules not the EU.

Broadcasting - EU and UK broadcasters intrinsically linked. UK ask for mutual recognition in this area and transfrontier broadcasting to continue. Hopefully means portability (coming in April) survives Brexit so UK nationals can continue to watch SKY, BTSport etc. abroad with a subscription.

Financial Services - UK not asking for passporting and cannot accept EU rules in strategic national industry. UK banks underwrite half of debt and equity issued by EU companies. £1.1 trillion cross border lending from UK to EU. Message is EU needs access to UK financial services.

Energy - UK support single energy market in Ireland/Northern Ireland. UK open to staying in EU energy market and to having close association with Euratom.

Transport - UK seeks to continue current air, maritime and rail system. So would like to stay in open skies agreement. Also seeks enhanced access for road hauliers to the EU market.

UK will not be in the digital single market, however given the fact that the proposals for this will do little to create a unified EU market and will actually make it much harder for EU tech, much better for UK to be outside it given the size and potential of UK tech sector.

UK will seek judicial cooperation in a large number of areas including company law and intellectual property.

Overall this is a comprehensive package & gives some big concessions to the EU while ensuring that a close and special partnership can continue.

All EU trade deals are bespoke. Canada is different from South Korea as they have different offensive issues. So for the EU to suggest UK has to take an existing deal rather than a bespoke one tailored to EU/UK trade makes little sense. However we will see soon how the EU reacts!